Bills of Concern Impacting Our Public Lands

By Cory Chase, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy

This week at E-Day I gave a recap of the bills before the legislature that impact our public lands. While some of the bills seem to have good intentions, several appear to set dangerous precedents. We will keep you posted as these bills move through the legislature:

SB 560: Defining Class 2 e-bikes: The purpose of this bill is to update the laws on e-bikes in West Virginia to define Class 2 e-bikes and afford them the same allowances as Class 3 e-bikes. This bill is moving and we are concerned about the impact of these bikes on our trails and bike paths. Passed Senate (Roll No. 123) 02/14/22 and To House Judiciary 02/15/22

SB 562: Creating Adopt-A-Trail volunteer programs for public land under DNR jurisdiction: The purpose of this bill is to authorize Adopt-A-Trail programs for volunteers to clean up and maintain trails on public lands in this state.
To Natural Resources 02/02/22 

SB 563: Authorizing dispersed camping on state properties under DNR jurisdiction: The purpose of this bill is to authorize the Director of the Division of Natural Resources to establish dispersed camping areas on public lands under the jurisdiction of the DNR.

To Natural Resources 02/02/22 

SB 564: Mapping of public roads: The purpose of this bill is to expand the mapping and depiction of public roads and highways in the state’s inventory and to require the collection and promulgation of information about the types of uses of those roads.
To Transportation and Infrastructure 02/02/22 

SB 565: Establishing resident and nonresident wildlife viewing stamps: The purpose of this bill is to establish a wildlife viewing program through an additional stamp or endorsement upon a state-issued hunting or fishing license.
To Natural Resources 02/02/22

These stamps entitle the licensee to view wildlife in all counties of the state, except as prohibited by rules of the director, on state-owned property and roads, including fire roads, select access roads, and roads that normally are gated, between Memorial Day and Labor Day for the general public, and for the entire year for persons holding a Class Q special hunting permit, in a regularly licensed vehicle, and excluding all utility-terrain vehicles (UTVs) and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

SB 566: Requiring Department of Commerce to develop a plan for adventure travel recreation promotion in WV: The purpose of this bill is to require the Department of Commerce to investigate and prepare a plan for development of an adventure travel program in this state.
To Economic Development 02/02/22

SB 579: Defining standards for outfitters and guides and commercial jeep tours: The purpose of this bill is to require the Division of Natural Resources to draft and propose legislative rules for commercial jeep tours in West Virginia. This bill also updates the statutory requirement for the DNR to propose rules for outfitters and guides in general.
To Economic Development 02/03/22

A commercial jeep tour may take place on publicly maintained roads, unimproved roads, off-road routes, or all of the foregoing. 

Updated: February 18, 2022 — 4:10 pm

2 Comments

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  1. why is HB562 a concern? Is there ulterior motive? I know Maynard is pushing for ATV Tourism, etc.

    1. It is likely that this is a Trojan horse of sorts since DNR already has a program like this and Sen. Maynard didn’t even consult with them before proposing the bill. This bill could be passed and later amended to add more specific ORV/ATV language. I think we all know what Sen. Maynard’s overall goal is, so this bill should be carefully considered before supporting.

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